And away we go …

Recently I realized I’m not really happy unless I’m planning some sort of party. Or at least planning to plan a party.

Sometimes I’m battening down the hatches for a huge bash, like each December, when about seventy people squish themselves into our house for an all-day open house on Christmas Day. At other times I prefer having casual, impromptu get-togethers, usually prompted by a spate of gorgeous weather that just begs for a picnic in the park or mojitos in the backyard.

But whether it’s a big party or small—whether I’ve spent a week making shopping lists and cleaning house or whether I’ve invited a friend at the spur of the moment to try the latest drink I’m excited about—by the time I’m washing up the cocktail glasses, wiping the sticky rings off the coffee table, and scraping the last bits of blue cheese onto parchment paper to store in the fridge, I’m already plotting the next get-together. I often find myself jotting down notes about what I’ve learned that night. “If you’re going to assemble a peach galette after dinner, make sure the puff pastry has plenty of time to thaw first.” “The Hundred-Corner Shrimp Balls were the first app to get scarfed up. Make twice as much next time.” It’s really helpful to have jotted down that an 18-pound turkey will fit in my roasting pan but a 20-pounder is really pushing it. Or that trying to make complicated cocktails when I’m also trying to make a triple batch of gravy is complete madness.

After much dithering, I’ve decided to keep a chronicle of my entertaining exploits. It will include my disasters, like a recent evening when, while making strawberry shortcake for dessert in front of my dinner guests, I bonked the canister containing five pounds of flour against the counter. It flew into pieces, covering my kitchen with a flurry of flour and broken glass. Hopefully it will contain a few modest triumphs. I’m sure I will obsess about recipes and cocktails, which are the subjects that keep me occupied while I’m moping about without a party in the works. Hopefully something I write might inspire someone to try something new, or just convince someone that gathering your favorite people around you is pretty much a guaranteed good time.

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